Christian Hip Hop: Inspiring Faith, Changing Lives

Welcome to another episode of Church on the Block. On this episode we’re taking you on a journey down memory lane, celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop and sharing our personal experiences and memories of when we first fell in love with Hip Hop and when we first discovered Christian Hip Hop.

The Birth of DJ Ruckus

Let’s start with a fun story about how DJ Ruckus got his name. He began his career as a house DJ but later transitioned to hip hop. His name was inspired by his desire to make everyone dance and cause a ruckus on the dance floor. Contrary to what some might think, his name has no connection to the TV show “The Boondocks,” a misconception that always brings a good laugh to our conversations.

Falling in Love with Hip Hop

Pastah Jay, and Pastor Phil have unique stories of falling in love with hip hop. For Pastah J, it was attending a hip hop concert as a child where he was introduced to the various elements of hip hop culture, such as breakdancing and graffiti. This experience made him realize that hip hop was more than just music; it was a whole culture that he fell in love with.

For Pastor Phil, it was a moment of frustration and desire for something more. I was in a car with friends who were getting high, and a particular song resonated with me, making me feel valued and understood, especially as someone living in the ghetto. Hip Hop spoke to the universal challenges of living in the hood, and that’s when he fell in love with it.

The Evolution of Our Hip Hop Journey

Our journey with hip hop evolved over the years. Pastah J’s love for hip hop took a shift towards West Coast artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in middle school. In high school, he discovered a fusion of different elements of the culture at a predominantly Latino school where hip hop was embraced.

The Power of Christian Hip Hop

We also discuss the importance of Christian hip hop and how it can serve as a powerful tool for reaching young people. Pastah J shares his journey into Christian hip hop, influenced by artists like Carmen, DC Talk, T-Bone, and the Gospel Gangstaz. His faith and love for hip hop were combined when he was introduced to Christian Rap by a school mate who eventually become the legendary CHH artist Sho Baraka, who played a tape by the Cross Movement one night after he had just given his life to Christ.

The Evolution of Christian Hip Hop

Reflecting on the early days in ministry, Pastor Phil used to discourage people from listening to secular music. However, as he became a parent, he realized the importance of helping his own children critically evaluate the music they listened to. Christian hip hop initially played it safe and lacked relevance, but artists like Sho Baraka, Tunnel Rats, and Dynamic Twins brought a fresh perspective to the genre.

The Future of Christian Hip Hop

We reminisce about the early days of Christian hip hop and how it impacted our lives. We organized a concert that attracted 800 people, with 100 of them coming to faith in Christ. Despite the lack of resources and support, we were able to connect with young people in the hood through music that made sense to them.

We also discuss the challenges we faced when it came to listening to secular music. We acknowledge that trying to control what our kids listen to can do more harm than good, and instead, we provided them with a lot of Christian hip hop and other genres to keep them engaged.

Looking at the future of Christian hip hop, we emphasize the importance of authenticity and community. We encourage artists to focus on the art and message rather than worrying about commercial success.

In conclusion, our passion for hip hop and our desire for Christian hip hop to continue evolving and making meaningful music is evident. We hope that our journey and insights inspire you to appreciate the power and influence of hip hop in our lives and society.

Thank you for tuning in to Church on the Block, see you next episode.

COTB Ep 66 Hip Hop web pic Pastor Phil and Kurtis Blow at Fire Fest 2023
Pastor Phil with Hip Hop legend Kurtis Blow
COTB EP 66 Hip Hop alt image 2 Pastor Phil with KRS-One
Pastor Phil with Hip Hop legend KRS-One


The birth of DJ Ruckus (00:01:20) DJ Ruckus explains how he got his name and the significance behind it.

When Pastah J fell in love with hip hop (00:03:54) Pastah J shares his experience of attending a concert by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and how it introduced him to the broader hip hop culture.

Early memories of hip hop (00:07:48) DJ Ruckus reminisces about the early days of hip hop, including watching music videos, movies, and breakdancing, and how it became a part of his identity.

The first time I fell in love with hip hop (00:10:31) Pastor Phil talks about how a hip hop song made him feel valuable and identified with the struggles of living in the ghetto.

Discovering more hip hop (00:11:27) Pastor Phil discusses how he wanted to find more hip hop music and how it resonated with him when he realized his own struggles and pain.

Finding hip hop through others (00:13:59) Pastor Phil shares his experience of not having direct access to hip hop and trying to discover it through other people and resources like books and conversations.

The First Encounter with Christian Hip Hop (00:21:37) Pastah J shares his personal story of discovering Christian hip hop and how it drew him to the genre.

The Impact of Christian Wu-Tang (00:23:03) Pastor Jay recounts the moment he heard a Christian rapper who reminded him of Wu-Tang and how it changed his perspective on blending hip hop and faith.

Ten Things to Improve Christian Hip Hop (00:27:22) Show Baraka presents his list of ten suggestions to make Christian hip hop better, including bringing Jesus back into the genre and encouraging artists to have more sophistication in their lyrics.

The relevance of hip hop to different age groups (00:32:07) Discussion about the age gap and relevance of hip hop to different generations.

The importance of making music regardless of age (00:32:35) Encouragement to continue making music regardless of age, with references to Snoop Dogg and Nas.

Engagement with Christian hip hop and personal growth (00:36:59) Personal experiences and engagement with Christian hip hop, including underground artists and the excitement of discovering new music.

The 50th anniversary of hip hop (00:42:34) Discussion about the impact of Christian hip hop and the artists who made a difference in the genre.

The influence of parents on music choices (00:43:32) Talking about how Pastah J’s mom didn’t allow him to listen to secular music, but he still found a way to listen to alternative music.

The future of Christian hip hop (00:47:15) Exploring the potential for more creative freedom in the genre and the need for artists to be authentic and supportive of each other.

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